Nirayama Reverberatory Furnace静岡県伊豆の国市中260-1
Industrial Heritage: The Casted Gun Batteries of the Forts
A designated national historical site. It was also designated a heritage of industrial modernization by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. At the end of the Edo period, to protect Japan (Edo) from European and American colonization and the country from being opened, Nirayama prefectural governor Egawa Tarozaemon Hidetatsu advised the shogunate to create the cannon-casting furnace.
The construction started in 1854, and was completed in 1857. It was used to cast hundreds of big and small cannons including for the forts (gun batteries) in the waters near Shinagawa, until usage of the furnace ended in 1864. The name “reverberatory furnace” comes from the structure of the furnace. Heat is reflected (or “reverberated”) off the arched ceiling, producing the melting temperature of iron (1700 degrees or 3092 degrees Fahrenheit).
There are 11 reverberatory furnaces in Japan which were constructed for cannon casting, but currently only 3 remain (Satsuma Kyu Shuuseikan reverberatory furnace, the Hagi reverberatory furnace, and the Nirayama reverberatory furnace). The Nirayama reverberatory furnace is of great importance because it is the best preserved, and has been confirmed to have actually been used.
At the guidance center, you can learn about pig iron and tools which were used when the furnace was in operation. You can also watch footage about the Nirayama reverberatory furnace on a big screen.
*In September 2013 the Nirayama reverberatory furnace was among the sites recommended domestically as “sites of Japan's Meiji industrial revolution: Kyushu-Yamaguchi and related areas”.
*In July 2015, the Nirayama reverberatory furnace was one of the constituent assets of the “sites of Japan's Meiji industrial revolution: Kyushu-Yamaguchi and related areas” registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.